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editorials>>China Overview Fall 2004

During the middle of November I was able to go to Shanghai for the second time (with the first being back in 1996). A good friend of mine (who I had met previously while visiting Shanghai) had invited me back so that I could see the city and how it has changed during the last eight years.

It was quite a change from Japan, that'd for sure. Although I had been to China before, it was quite a while back and I had grown accustomed to understanding what everyone was saying and knowing how to get around. Since my friend was busy with work most of the time I was in China, I was on my own a lot. I first had to get around the airport, board the fastest train in the world (430 kph!) and then take a taxi to my hotel (luckily my friend had made all of those arrangements already). Went out for a very nice course meal, walked around Shanghai checking out the Bund (on the riverside) and retired back to the room.

The next few days were spent figuring my way around the city and visiting various places of interest. I rode the subway, checked out the shops along Nanjing Dong-Lu (Nanjing Walking Road), visited the cultural museum, had many good meals and met some interesting people. Woke up extra early so I could go to the park and see everyone doing tai-chi then went to the nearby masseuse to get my first massage--one hour for about six dollars. My friend took me to nearby Suzhou on Saturday where we had some Chinese ramen and I saw a few Chinese gardens. The last night there I was treated to a Shanghai Crab/drunken shrimp dinner--a perfect meal to end my stay with.

One of the most interesting thing for me was checking out the clubs in Shanghai. I visited two of the largest/most popular in downtown Shanghai - Pegasus and Rojam. I went to Pegasus on a friday night. It was about a $10 cover charge and then free drinks the whole night (!). It's a hip-hop club and there was a good DJ that night so everything was great. The club is pretty spacious for the amount of customers there, with a DJ booth in the middle of the club, dance floor in front and plenty of couches, tables and places to sit. Hung out all night and had a very good time. The next night I went to Rojam because I though that Paul Van Dyk was playing there. Turns out he wasn't. I went there with a friend (from Japan, he happened to be in Shanghai visiting at the same time I was) and after about an hour or so left the place. There was a cover charge, locker fee, coat check fee, drinks were expensive (for China), you had to PAY to sit down at lots of the tables and the place was full of crazy techno junkies and monotonous music. I used to be into that kind of music, but not anymore. I didn't fit in very well either...wearing my Fila velour top and Phat Farm jeans. It's a VERY big club (much bigger than Pegasus) with two floors (a main floor on the bottom and a smaller stage on top that plays house music) and everything you'd find in any world-class club in Europe. Paul Oakenfold and the like regularly play there when they're on world tours--most of the acts are techno/trance. I'm sure it's a great club if that's what you're looking for. Oh, and it turns out Paul Van Dyk was playing at a club down the street. Oh well.